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Do Men and Women Have Different Gonorrhea Symptoms?

While men and women do share some of the same gonorrhea symptoms, they have several different symptoms, too. Gonorrhea symptoms can affect everything from your genitals to your eyes and throat.

What Are Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women?

Women who have this sexually transmitted infection (STI) typically have the following symptoms, which can be similar to the signs of a bladder infection:

  • Pain during urination.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Bleeding after sex and between periods.
  • Increased vaginal discharge.
  • Abdominal pain.

What Are Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men?

Men who have gonorrhea usually have more obvious symptoms, which can include:

  • Burning during urination.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Discharge from the tip of the penis.
  • Pain and swelling in the testicles.

What Gonorrhea Symptoms Do Men and Women Share?

Men and women also share some of the most common gonorrhea symptoms. These include:

  • Itching, discharge, pain, or bleeding from the anus.
  • Sore throat or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Pain and swelling in the joints.
  • Burning and redness in the eyes.

How Soon Do Gonorrhea Symptoms Appear?

In most cases, gonorrhea symptoms appear within 10 days of becoming infected. They might show up within 24 hours of infection, or they could take a little over a week to appear.

However, gonorrhea doesn’t always have obvious symptoms, especially for women. In some cases, the signs may be subtle enough that you don’t notice them. If your partner has gonorrhea or if you have had sexual contact with an infected person, it’s possible to have the STI without showing symptoms.

How Do You Get Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a bacterial STI, and it passes between people easily. You can get gonorrhea if you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected person. The symptoms appear near the site where you had contact with an infected partner. However, you can easily spread the bacteria to other parts of your body, which can lead to additional symptoms.

When Should You See a Doctor About Gonorrhea Symptoms?

If you have any of the common symptoms of gonorrhea, contact your local medical provider right away. If you’ve had sexual contact with an infected person but you don’t have symptoms yet, also contact your local provider or the Nurx medical team for an STI screening.

At Nurx, our medical team will ask you basic questions about your health, your symptoms, and your sexual history. Your answers will help us assess whether you’re at risk of getting an STI such as gonorrhea.

How Do You Test for Gonorrhea?

If our medical team determines you’re at risk of gonorrhea or another STI, we’ll recommend getting tested. All three of our STI tests — the Healthy Woman Kit, the Full Control Kit, and the Basics Covered Kit — check for gonorrhea. Our test kits also allow for home testing, which means you can complete STI testing without having to find a local medical provider or travel to a lab. Here’s how our testing process works:

  • We’ll have our partner lab send you a test kit to your home address, using a discreet package for your privacy.
  • When you receive the kit, follow the instructions inside. Depending on the kit you receive, you might need to provide a urine sample, a vaginal swab, a rectal swab, a throat swab, or a blood sample.
  • After collecting all the required samples, place them in the original packaging and apply the included label. Send the test kit back to our partner lab for testing.
  • Once your tests are processed, our medical team will contact you within seven business days. We’ll go over your results and suggest next steps, if necessary.

How Much Does STI Testing Cost?

The cost of STI testing depends on the kit and whether you use insurance. If you have insurance, our partner lab will bill your provider directly. Depending on your plan, your provider may bill you for a copayment or a deductible.

The Healthy Woman Kit includes gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, HIV, and syphilis testing and comes with the following costs:

  • With Insurance: $75 for the test kit and shipping, plus $15 for a medical consultation with your Nurx medical provider.
  • Without Insurance: $190 for the test kit and shipping, plus $15 for the medical consultation fee.

The Full Control Kit includes gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C testing and requires the following costs:

  • With Insurance: $75 for the test kit and shipping, plus $15 for your Nurx medical consultation.
  • Without Insurance: $220 for the test kit and shipping, plus $15 for the medical consultation fee.

The Basics Covered Kit includes gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis testing and comes with the following costs:

  • With Insurance: $75 for the test kit and shipping, plus $15 for your Nurx medical consultation.
  • Without Insurance: $150 for the test kit and shipping, plus $15 for the medical consultation fee.

How Do You Treat Gonorrhea?

In most cases, gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics. If your STI test indicates you have gonorrhea, your medical provider can prescribe an effective treatment. The standard treatment for gonorrhea includes two parts: a ceftriaxone injection and a pill that contains either azithromycin or doxycycline. If you’re allergic to ceftriaxone, your medical provider might prescribe a gemifloxacin pill or a gentamicin injection instead.

Always take all the pills your provider prescribes, even if your symptoms seem like they’ve gone away. Also avoid having sex for a week after starting treatment.

What if You Don’t Get Treated for Gonorrhea?

You should always get tested and treated for gonorrhea if you have symptoms or if you think you’ve been infected. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious conditions such as infertility, chronic abdominal pain, and increased chances of spreading HIV.

How Do You Prevent Gonorrhea?

You can prevent gonorrhea by using condoms every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex, even if you don’t think you or your partner is infected. You can also get tested for STIs regularly, so you’ll know if you’ve been infected right away. If you get gonorrhea, tell your current and past partners so they can pursue testing and treatment if necessary.

Further Reading

Gonorrhea, Mayo Clinic, July 2019

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